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Bud Slight.

An online brouhaha erupted a couple weeks ago after Anheuser-Busch InBev floated an idea (likely nothing more than a marketing ploy) to make Budweiser the Official State Beer of Utah.

Tim Haran | Utah Beer NewsBud, the self-professed "King of Beers," is angling to become the Beehive's beer of choice—officially.

It's mocked up cans with iconic Utah imagery. It's even developed a semi-slick, Napolean Dynamite-ish campaign video, complete with at least two recognizable athletes and several familiar locations.

I did a double-take when Real Salt Lake goalkeeping legend Nick Rimando soared into the frame to save a pair of "lunching lovers" from getting pegged in the head by a can of Bud. He's a guy who's had at least two local beers—Rimando's Wit (Epic Brewing) and Rimando Pale Ale (Kiitos Brewing)—named after him. C'mon, Nick.

Epic, by the way, on Aug. 21 tweeted its dismay about the campaign. A petition is circulating to help stop the madness, and a friend of Utah Beer News created the #BoycottBud4Utah tag to rally against the effort.

As The Salt Lake Tribune reports, if "84,899 tags or retweets are secured—a number that represents the size of Utah in square miles—Utah will become the first state to have its own Budweiser can."

As of Wednesday, the video had garnered just 5,800 views and the hashtag—#Bud4Utah—received about 100 retweets in the last week, according to Socialert. Budweiser USA's original tweet is far from having gone viral.

Needless to say, I don't think Bud will hit its goal. And even if it did, I doubt Utah's notoriously alcohol-unfriendly legislature would sign a proclamation designating an "official state beer."

What Would Make a 'Utah' Beer?

But it got me thinking: What would the requirements be for a "state beer" of Utah?

It would need to be brewed in Utah, obviously. How about ingredients? I think it should use local malt since Utah is home to one of the nation’s relatively few craft maltsters. It could also include local hops, which grow wild in Summit County and elsewhere around the state.

As for the brewery to brew it, maybe it should be brewed by Utah's first post-prohibition brewery (Wasatch). Or by the second-coming of a pre-prohibition brewery (Fisher).

How about a brewery that proclaims to be Utah's "longest locally owned brewery" (Red Rock)? Perhaps a brewery that's also been around for years and routinely features Utah geography and culture in its naming and labeling (Uinta, Bonneville)?

Where would popularity fit in? Natty Daddy—from the folks who brought you Budweiser—is the best-selling beer at liquor stores right now, though it's got to be out of the running due to its non-Utah roots, right? Often, the liquor store sales-dollars crown is worn by a beer from a Utah brewery (Squatters). Either way, should there be an annual sales threshold? 

How about most medals won? The highest rating on BeerAdvocate or Untappd? It might be wise, for posterity's sake, to consider a beer that will conceivably be available for generations to come.

It's obvious that many variables can be considered when declaring anything "official" for a sprawling state such as Utah that boasts so many great breweries.

When it comes to beer, it might be best to keep things "unofficial" and continue to enjoy the hundreds of local brews currently available to us.

That Said, What Beer Would You Choose?

Purely for argument's sake, what do you think? What beer would you elect to (unofficially) represent the pretty great state of Utah?

Send me a message with your nominee by Sept. 8, 2020 (with an optional explanation as to why you selected the beer you did) and I'll enter you in a random drawing to win a prize from one of our fine, local craft beer establishments.

The Bud campaign appears to be wholly tongue-in-cheek, dreamed up by the AB-InBev marketing department as Utah nears the one-year anniversary of higher-alcohol beer hitting grocery store shelves.

But who knows? If Bud doesn't get its "state beer" this way, maybe AB-InBev will swoop in and simply buy a Utah craft brewery to stake its claim. It's been known to happen.


P.S. While not necessarily Utah beer-related, Anheuser-Busch is also toying with the integrity of fantasy football. Oh, the humanity.

Currently Drinking: As I write, I'm enjoying a crowler of ESB from Bewilder BrewingHow about you?

Hello Again & Welcome

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Wasatch Brewery: Consistency Blended with Innovation

Wasatch Brewery - Kick-Back Series
Any business, let alone a brewery in Utah, doesn’t survive for more than three decades without striking a balance between consistency and innovation. And for Wasatch Brewery, which opened its doors in Park City in 1986, it’s spent 34 years doing exactly that.

🎙 BONUS: In the latest episode of the Utah Beer News Podcast, we sit down with Nils Imboden, head brewer at Wasatch Brewery in Park City. Give it a listen!
Wasatch Brewery: Past, Present, Future

COVID-19: Are Your Favorite Breweries Open?

Coronavirus Updates | Utah Beer News

I've done my best to provide updates as to how individual breweries are handling the COVID-19 restrictions set forth by state and local governments. Sept. 1 marked four months since breweries were allowed to once again reopen to sit-in customers. Learn the status of Utah's breweries.

NOTE: Due to the dynamic environment in which we find ourselves, please confirm hours and other pertinent details with individual breweries.

Full COVID-19 Coverage

🎙 Utah Beer News Podcast

The Utah Beer News podcast provides another avenue for us to tell stories about the Utah beer community. We'd love for you to subscribe, take a listen, and let us know what you think!

Notable New Releases: Two Local Beers to Try

SaltFire Brewing - Master Control Program
Beer Name/Style: Master Control Program, New England-Style IPA
Brewery: SaltFire Brewing
ABV: 7.1%
Availability: 16-ounce cans at SaltFire Brewing and elsewhere.
Notes: This one pours opaque with heavy citrus and tropical aromas. It doesn't have a harsh juice-tang (hop burn, perhaps) that I pick up from a lot of NEIPAs. Creamy smooth with big tropical fruit flavors from an effective hop blend. Plus, if you appreciate clever can copy (as I do), give this one a read.
Wasatch Brewery - Landbier Swiss-Style Lager
Beer Name/Style: Landbier, Swiss-Style Lager
Brewery: Wasatch Brewery
ABV: 6%
Availability: 16-ounce cans at Wasatch/Squatters locations and elsewhere.
Notes: Landbier translates to "country beer," and this has Euro countryside written all over it. A crystal clear, effervescent lager. Aromas of doughy bread, flavors of crisp cracker and cereal, with a light caramel maltiness. Just enough earthy/grassy noble hops to balance.

From time to time I'll use the above space to share two notable new releases that I believe are worth seeking out. If you're a brewer or craft beer enthusiast who would like a specific beer to be considered for this feature, please send me an email by Sept. 30, 2020, with details about the beer and where to find it. And since I didn't receive any nominations last month, I selected two on my own.

NOTE: Extremely limited releases likely won't be considered for this feature. We want our readers to be able to track down the beers we mention during the month of publication.

Drink Up! Read More Tasting Notes

Lone Pine Brewing: Taps Utah as Western Outpost

Lone Pine Brewing - Maine Brewery Delivers Beer to Utah
Lone Pine Brewing, a Maine-based brewery that opened in 2016, recently began distributing to Utah. Utah Beer News visited with John Paul, Lone Pine's co-founder and director of business development, to learn more about the brewery's beginnings, why it decided to distribute to Utah, and more.

🎙 BONUS: Subscribers to the Utah Beer News Podcast can hear even more about the Maine beer scene, how it's coping with COVID-19, and how it began delivering beer directly to customers.
Maine's Lone Pine Heads West

August Giveaway: Congrats to the Winners!

Back in mid-March, when breweries needed our support more than ever, I spent an evening visiting several local spots to purchase crowlers/growlers, merchandise, and gift cards.

Gift Card GiveawayIn August, I gave away three $20 gift cards as a way of saying thank you to email subscribers.

Congratulations to...
  • Victor M.
  • Chris B.
  • Chad B.

As mentioned in the introduction, send me your nomination for "Utah's (Unofficial) State Beer" (by Sept. 8, 2020) and you might win a gift card yourself. As always, thank you for subscribing!

Beer News & Notes

Each month, I gather beer-related news and notes to share with Utah Beer News email subscribers. Much of what's mentioned in this space is obtained from social sites, taproom visits, email newsletters, etc. (and a few are sent directly to me—hint, hint).
Reminder: It's always best to confirm event dates, times and locations with the individual organizers.
  • The annual wild-hops harvest in Summit County is taking place this weekend. Summit Land Conservancy is leading a team to pick the hops on Sept. 4 and then two teams are invited to visit Wasatch Brewery in Park City on Sept. 5 to pick the cones off the bines. The hops will be used in this year’s Clothing Hoptional beer. It looks like the Saturday slots are filled but you can sign up for the Friday picking here.
  • Though Fisher Brewing still hasn’t opened its taproom to sit-in service, it did open patio seating. The popular Salt Lake brewery continues to sell crowlers to go as well and continues its weekly rotating IPA series (here's last week's offering).
  • Ogden River Brewing is heading into the homestretch. The long-awaited brewery shared a video of tanks being brought in on Aug. 20 and a representative wrote on a Facebook thread that it hopes to open in the next few weeks.
  • Speaking of new breweries opening, Fife Brewing expects to open in Salt Lake in mid-2021, according to a Facebook comment by one of the brewery’s executives. “Fife will occupy the spot currently home to the old Suicide Lane Cycles building on 700 S., just off State Street,” writes Lauren Boyack, vice president of marketing for Lotus Company, which is developing Fife and Ogden River Brewing. “We’re in the permitting phase and plan to break ground this year with an opening projected in May 2021.”
  • Bewilder Brewing is hosting its own Oktoberfest Sept. 19-27 that will feature special events, beers, and a German menu takeover. Bewilder is now open until 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday (11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 12-8 p.m. Sunday) and it continues to offer 50% off all food items (Monday-Thursday).
  • Level Crossing Brewing is hosting live, outdoor music on its patio each Friday from 7-9 p.m. Rick Gerber is scheduled to perform Sept. 4. Stop by early for "pizza happy hour" from 6-8 p.m. (all pizzas are 20% off).
  • In case you missed it, here’s a rundown of Utah breweries that have reopened (or are about to reopen) for sit-in service. Please let me know if you've heard anything different.
  • Utah Motorsports in Grantsville is organizing its very own Oktoberfest over three weekends: Oct. 10-11, 17-18, and 24-25. It’s unclear which breweries will be participating, but here’s how to get tickets.
  • RoHa Brewing Project opened a patio in front of its taproom/brewery. Beer is still available to-go curbside as well. Hours are 12-8 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
  • RoHa also recently began selling crowlers of its beer. And the Salt Lake brewery is developing a small-batch series of 100% Brettanomyces fermented beers. The four-part series is dubbed "Golden Girls" (Sophia is the first and is available only in crowlers, while supplies last).
  • SaltFire Brewing is partnering with Mt. Naomi Farms in Hyde Park to supply the brewery with some fresh, local fruit. Keep an eye out for the farm’s raspberries and blackberries in upcoming brews. And SaltFire hints that it has something special planned for the grapes it picked.
  • It looks like Craft Café, a new venture from Wasatch/Squatters, is progressing nicely.
  • Mountain West Hard Cider provided an extensive update for email subscribers, including news about its tasting room and adjacent outdoor space (The Garten), new cider releases, and more. If you’re not subscribed to Mountain West’s updates, take a look.
  • Speaking of ciders, Ibantik Craft Beverages, a startup cider brokerage, welcomed three new cider products to Utah liquor store shelves. Keep up with everything-cider on the Ibantik Instagram. By the way, you still have time to enter a giveaway Ibantik is hosting. Check out the details.
  • Grid City Beer Works raised more than $15,000 from its crowdfunding campaign toward finishing its rooftop deck. Also at Grid City: these milk shots are really taking off.
  • Rio Connelly, a co-founder of Proper Brewing Co., started a blog as part of his Faultline Beverage Consulting venture. Give it a read.
  • The Brewers Association approved a new Code of Conduct document. It outlines a member complaint process that aims “to hold our peers accountable for unacceptable behavior while pursuing an educational path forward that leads to a more inclusive and respectful craft beer community.”
  • Kiitos Brewing Safety Manager Rachel Bell participated in a Brewers Association webcast about brewery safety on Aug. 13. Interesting stuff!
  • USA Today wrote an informative article about craft beer’s diversity problem and what the industry is trying to do to fix it.
  • Roosters Brewing released its first mixed pack sampler. The initial 12-pack offering, available in grocery and convenience stores, includes Bee’s Knees Honey Wheat, Blood Orange IPA, and High Desert Hazy IPA. And it got a new truck!
  • Silver Reef Brewing added wine to its list of offerings (to go with beer and spirits). The Chanela brand of wines are available at the St. George brewery’s retail store.
  • The Utah Tip Challenge, a new grassroots effort aimed at collecting funds to donate to service staff at a different Utah restaurant each week, chose Boneyard Saloon & Wine Dive as its inaugural recipient. Check out the Utah Tip Challenge on Instagram to see who else has benefited from the program and how you can contribute.
  • The CANarchy Craft Brewery Collective, which includes Wasatch Brewery and Squatters Craft Beers, continues to grow during the pandemic, via Forbes.
  • Holystone Distillery is feeling the wrath of Stone Brewing Co. over its name, via The Salt Lake Tribune.
  • If you’re waiting on Mine Shaft Brewery to open, it sounds like you’ll be waiting indefinitely, via Deseret News.
  • Organizers of the (virtual) Great American Beer Festival announced the lineup. It features nine 30-minute sessions “with some of the best known and rising stars in brewing.” It airs Oct. 16-17 and is available exclusively to GABF passport holders (get one).
  • By the way, more than 1,000 breweries are signed up to “pour” at the 2020 Virtual Great American Beer Festival. For Utah, it looks like Bewilder Brewing, Epic Brewing, Kiitos Brewing, Red Rock Brewing, Salt Flats Brewing, and T.F. Brewing are on the list. Also of note: Prodigy Brewing, which we’ve heard is a soon-to-be Logan brewery, is signed up (we’ve reached out to a representative to learn more and will pass along what we hear back). As for GABF, to learn more about this unique event and to get your tickets, go here.
And finally...
  • Oskar Blues, a brewery in Colorado, developed a beer brewed with French’s mustard. Yep. Three ounces of honest-to-goodness yellow mustard per gallon of beer. Chop & Brew reviews.
Brewery Folks: Got news, notes, or events to share? Don't count on us to find it on social media. Please send the info to Utah Beer News directly if you'd like us to help spread the word.
Copyright © 2020 Utah Beer News | Tim Haran Digital LLC, All rights reserved.

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